The morning after. Denny's. I have just dropped my Toyota Prius off for service and here I sit, dejected. Sausages and eggs don't help that much.
I'm trying to get this whole thing sorted out in my mind, and at the moment I confess that I'm confused. The feelings swirl, the brain's in high gear, trying to get it straight. This morning I woke to check out the primary results, and they depressed and, yes, truthfully, angered me. Have I been overly attached to the Obama outcome? This might be the Buddhist way to understand what's going on for me. Attach yourself to a specific outcome, and be ready for disappointment. The healthier, more practical approach is to follow the path of equanimity.
Ha! Nice try. The mind remains argumentative. Here's the emotional quotient: I have reached a point where I'm trying hard to like Hillary better than I do. No, that's not quite right. All I know about her is what I read in the press, what I see on the television screen. It's not Hillary I dislike, I tell myself, it's the tactics she has recently deployed in her determination to win the Democratic nomination at all costs. I am reminded of--gasp!--Bush and his team in the last two presidential elections. It's a matter of gaming the system, fixing the problem, blaming the opposing party, exploiting weaknesses, attacking where necessary to score points, resorting to scare tactics, innuendo, half-truths and even lies. Bring in the "plumbers"! Remember that one?
And then my mind fixates on the role of the media. The media giveth, the media taketh away. It perplexes me, honestly, that a Saturday Night Live skit should have proved so pivotal in turning things around. It played on the theme of unfairness to poor Hillary--a theme she exploited further, and with great success, on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show. By crying unfair, she garnered the sympathy not only of the voters but also of the media. They are so sensitive, these days, to the slightest criticism that they will reverse course on a dime if anyone whispers the word bias, and start asking "the hard questions" of the one they had previously--so we're told--fawned over.
I find it interesting to speculate, by the way, on the curious fact that it was two satirical comedy shows that wielded such influence. Comedy, and advertisement. Of the negative kind. The 3AM telephone call kind. We Americans are notoriously fear-averse. Who will protect us from the dreadful threats that so beset us? Pathetic, really, that we should allow ourselves to be panicked into voting for the person who can scare us most and at the same time manage to assure us of their protective powers. Think 2004.
And is it not a peculiar paradox that we (I'm speaking of we "Americans" here, still: that's us, no denying it) appear to have been clamoring for change and yet so many of us vote for the nomination of a 74-year man who promises nothing but the perpetuation of tired policies that have already amply proved their lack of worth? And an inheritor (inheritress?) of the mantle of a previous decade, now long past? It turns out that in the matter of change, too, we are risk-averse.
Ah, well. Deep breath. Be Buddhist. Observe the peculiarities without getting attached to outcomes. All is for the best, as Dr. Pangloss said, in this best of all possible worlds. Breathe very deep. And order more coffee and another round of English muffins, toasted well.